On View: Enlightenment and Beauty at the Frick Collection

French sculptors Jean-Antoine Houdon and Claude Michel (known as Clodion) were shining stars of the late eighteenth century contemporary art scene. It was the age of Enlightenment, where reason and knowledge were conduits for social and cultural advancement, and artists explored new venues of expression. Enlightenment and Beauty: Sculptures by Houdon and Clodion at the Frick Collection, presents the expert blending of old and new creative styles embraced by both artists.

 

'The Comtesse du Cayla' by Jean-Antoine Houdon, 1777, The Frick Collection. (Photo: Michael Bodycomb)

‘The Comtesse du Cayla’ by Jean-Antoine Houdon, 1777, The Frick Collection. (Photo: Michael Bodycomb)

Though rooted in contemporary art, the artists used motifs from antiquity as their muse. Both studied at the French Royal Academy and traveled to Italy, where they were heavily influenced by classical art. The result is a suite of dynamic works which includes portrait busts, figure groups, reliefs and terracottas.

The exhibition features classic work by both artists including The Comtesse du Cayla by Houdon. All are displayed in the radiant natural light of the Frick’s Portico Gallery.

Enlightenment and Beauty: Sculptures by Houdon and Clodion is on view at the Frick Collection through April 5, 2015.